The process of granting significance to certain memories over others and generating meaning from those remembered moments is largely informed by stories available to us already simply through our participation in culture. While this alone is not a problem, I can’t help but wonder: what am I really after when assigning literacy narratives? What are these narratives supposed to do for the student and for us as teacher-researchers? And, would resisting the conventional memorative elements of literacy narratives be productive? If so, how? —Christian Smith
[Intro music : “My Little One Trick Pony” by Doctor Turtle]
Hello again, and welcome to the fourth and final section of The Archive as Classroom. Narrative seems like an appropriate culmination to this project, as stories are truly the heart of the DALN. Narratives make the archive matter; they bring literacy to life and enable all of the wonderful research contained in this collection. In the classroom, the DALN provides both resources for narrative inquiry and a platform for rhetorical storytelling.
So naturally, the DALN has inspired research along every bend of the narrative turn, engaging conversations about reflection and identity, rhetoric and agency, literacy and multimodality. Drawing on foundational work by Wendy Bishop, Jerome Bruner, Linda Brodkey, and Walter Fisher, among many others, teachers have demonstrated a variety of benefits that result from integrating narratives into writing courses, and the DALN can make this move seamless. Or rather, it turns out, the DALN challenges teachers and students to pull at those seams, to craft new narratives and design storytelling strategies that continually remake the archive itself.
For this section, we asked contributors to explore how the DALN supports their teaching by considering these questions: How do you use the DALN to expose your students to others’ stories and lives? and What approaches help develop students’ critical, ethical responses to personal narratives? The results reflect the diverse approaches and perspectives that make the DALN such an exciting space for storytellers of all kinds.
In this section, you’ll learn how reading texts from the DALN can influence multilingual students’ own narratives and thereby support enhanced reflection skills. These claims are supported by a mixed-method analysis that offers rich opportunities for future researchers. The next chapter also models reflective practice, as a teacher educator explores writer identity with undergraduate learners. Here, we see how the DALN can sponsor socially responsible literacy among preservice teachers and their eventual students, thereby contributing to a more humane society. Finally, and appropriately, we conclude with a chapter that explodes the conventional literacy narrative assignment. The convoluted alternative it shares reminds us of the vast potential of narrative-based pedagogy while expanding our view of the DALN as a learning and teaching space.
Below, you’ll see links and short descriptions of the chapters included in this section. We know that you will find these narratives as fascinating as we have, and we look forward to the new pedagogical stories they inspire.
|Chapter 1 Lilian W. Mina, “The Archive as Intervention for Teaching Reflection”|
|Chapter 2 R. Joseph Rodríguez, “‘Writing is much more than putting ink on paper’: Preservice Teachers and Socially Responsible Literacies for a Connected and Digital World”|
|Chapter 3 Christian Smith, “Shooting the ‘Gifts’ of the Archives: A Convoluted Pedagogy”|